By: Irene Yakubu
I don’t understand the cause of the misconception about former Vice President Atiku Abuabakar’s call for restructuring. Could it be just politicking or lack of understanding? He clearly said let the power at the centre be reduced so that more powers and responsibilities are devolved to federating units.
Atiku in his call for restructuring, stressed the need for the devolution of power, that too much power at the centre hurts the country and the north in at least three critical ways: destroying our economy and values as it does elsewhere; putting too much premium on the struggle for power at the centre; creating the false perception that the north benefits from the status quo, thus presenting the north as being responsible for the country’s development challenges.
It is no news that before the discovery of crude oil, Nigeria’s economy flourished on cash crops production. There are many deposits of minerals in the northern part of the country and what the federal government ought to do is to promote diverse economic activities; tax the proceeds of those activities and use the proceeds to provide public goods and services for Nigerians.
We are all witnesses to what too much premium on the struggle for power at the centre has left us with. Politicians have often been successful in exploiting our ethnic and religious diversity to their advantage as we journey through the path of democratic governance.
The former Vice President didn’t just stop at his suggestions on the way out of our present dwindling economy and insecurity; he also said that restructuring will provide solution to many of our seeming intractable problems.
His words: “For a start, we need an honest reappraisal of the motives and principles behind existing solutions to our national integration challenges and their efficacy under current circumstances. Such an appraisal should not be shaped by which political party we belong to or any expected political benefits to individuals. It can be done with the help of a body of independent experts.”
So you can understand my confusion, when Governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar came out to say that we do not need restructuring, that what we need is power devolution. He further went ahead to say Nigerians are prone to using very strong words when we feel strong about an issue. Can you beat that? I would rather say Nigerians like Governor Abubakar are prone to politicizing every issue before dissecting it. Obviously, Governor Abubakar didn’t realize that he was repeating what Atiku Abubakar has been calling for except that calling it restructuring is too much a strong word for him. I want to believe that the reason the governor of Bauchi State did not realize he was saying exactly what Atiku has been advocating is probably because he didn’t want to be seen disloyal to the power house.
So instead of politicking with this issue while waiting for the catastrophe which if Nigeria continues on this path will surely happen, let’s all get on board with it and work on how it will best suit our system and stop acting like we are still in shackles. Nigeria is not working right now let get back to the drawing board and restructure.
•Yakubu sent this piece from Kaduna